What was it like watching Star Wars in 1977?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by VietAnh1111, May 23, 2023.

  1. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Raleigh, N.C.
    I was in middle school when Star Wars came out (it will never be "A New Hope" to me), so, pretty much the perfect age. We went to see it the week after opening day, as I recall, at the largest movie screen in Boston at the time (the Sack Charles).

    It was quite literally mind-blowing, from the appearance of the star destroyer until the last scene.

    As everyone knows, it's a great action-adventure flick. One of the best things about it was how it implied this gigantic galactic empire by only showing you the outskirts of the empire. It was great at implying the scope of the empire without showing it explicitly, and letting your mind fill in the gaps (and if I can digress, that was one of the things that Lucas abandoned as the series went on... in the first movie, Vader seemed like a minor player on the galactic scale; yes, he was a Sith with Sithy magic powers, but he was also second-in-command (at best) to Grand Moff Tarkin. To me, the whole story was a lot more interesting when it was, implicitly, playing out in an obscure corner of the galaxy -- not unlike Foundation, for example).

    Anyway, the other thing about Star Wars, that may be lost on modern audiences, is that in 1977, those special effects were unbelievably great. That's the most pathetic thing about Lucas's fetish for reworking these movies. The original was a landmark film in the history of cinematic special effects. Industrial Light & Magic literally invented new technology (computer-controlled cameras) that allowed matte shots to be taken with a moving camera, and the result was literally like nothing we'd ever seen before. The fact that Lucas apparently can't appreciate that for what it is -- either historically or technologically -- is very sad, and indicative (I suspect) of someone who thinks like an engineer and not like an artist.
  2. 7solqs4iago

    7solqs4iago Forum Resident

    i was 11 and a big Star Trek OS fan,

    saw it 3 times that year and just didn't get it at all, my friends wallowed in the glory of it all

    i guess the personalities and team work of Spock and Kirk meant more than increased gimmicks?

    they still do :D
  3. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits, Abbie & Mitzi: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    Indeed. I'm okay with "Episode IV" since Lucas made it clear early that he viewed the OT as a "middle trilogy", but never "A New Hope"!
  4. Macman

    Macman Senior Member

    I was 22 and very high.
  5. SixtiesGuy

    SixtiesGuy Ministry of Love

    I was in my early 20's. The feelings I remember most are excitement (battle scenes) and great fun, with a terrific film score. I was so happy that movies like that could still be made and enjoyed by millions. It was fresh, yet rooted in the great tradition of Hollywood adventure films.
  6. Charlie Finch

    Charlie Finch Forum Resident

    Garden State
    I probably watched the movie after everybody in North America had seen it.
  7. StingRay5

    StingRay5 Important Impresario

    I lost count. For a while, my mom and I would go see the Sunday morning matinee ($2 tickets!) every weekend.

    I first saw Star Wars (just Star Wars, please, none of this "Episode IV: A New Hope" BS) on opening weekend in Los Angeles. I was 11, and my brother, who was 18, suggested we go see it. We got in line for the 8:00 PM showing, but it sold out, so we decided to wait for the 11:00 PM show (pretty late hours for me at that age!). I remember the opening text scrolling up the screen, and then the peaceful shot of the Tatooine horizon, then Princess Leia's small ship entered from the top of the screen, and then the Imperial ship came on... and kept coming... that blew my mind.

    It was my favorite movie back then, but watching it more recently, I realized it's not really that great. Some of Lucas' dialog is awful ("Governor Tarkin, I should’ve expected to find you holding Vader’s leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board") and C3PO's incessant whining is just annoying. The virtuosic film editing is what really saves the movie.

    The original 1977 movie, without Lucas' later tampering (redone special effects, Greedo shooting first, etc.) is really the only version worth watching. There's a nice digitized version that you can find online if you know where to look for such things.
  8. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Saw it as part of the '81 re-release right before ESB came out, loved every minute of it.

    BTW, 4K77 shouldn't be called a 'fan edit', it's definitely a film preservation. It's also not 'upscaled to 4K', it was captured at 4K, directly from scanning film cells.

    A fan edit would be something like Harmy's Despecialized Edition.
    Last edited: May 23, 2023
  9. Rick Robson

    Rick Robson

    ️---- LvB-)
    I watched it at the Roxy copacabana cinema the same year it debuted outside de US. At my 13-14 years of age I quite enjoyed it, but got especially struck by the scene where Luke Skywalker was improving his intuitive skills with a training kit which comprised of just a sabre and an autonomously moving ball. He had to do the trainings with his eyes blindfolded.
  10. Crack To The Egg

    Crack To The Egg Forum Resident

    I saw it first release and then again on a couple of rereleases.

    For me it was like someone finally made a movie I felt like I could relate to. While I love the cinema of the 70s now, at the time I was too young to appreciate the slower pace. A lot of what I had been exposed to was low quality Disney live action movies and cheap animated stuff so it was like a whole other world.

    Audiences loved it. The energy in the theater was electric. Outside of the Marvel stuff and a few Eddie Murphy movies I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an audience that in sync with a movie.
  11. 1st off it starting to get cold, so we went to the movies to stay warm. BTW I never saw the movie straight :biglaugh:The good ol days.
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  12. VietAnh1111

    VietAnh1111 is living next door to Alice Thread Starter

    Hanoi, Vietnam
    Oh, now I get it. I always thought that the 4K77 project was upscaled.
    I really enjoy Harmy’s Despecialized too. But I would choose 4K77 for an authentic experience.
    Danny Coffin and peskypesky like this.
  13. Nipper

    Nipper His Master's Voice

    On a rare occasion when I was home sick from 4th grade for a few days in the autumn of 1976, my mom bought me the premier issue of Starlog magazine (and subsequent subscription) containing a neat little Star Trek episode guide. With TOS episodes in regular syndication, I was hugely into the series through the winter and spring of 1977. When the seventh issue of Starlog arrived featuring this new George Lucas film, complete with tempting photo stills, I remained skeptical and was not particularly enthusiastic to see it.

    When I finally did get to the theater in midsummer, of course it blew my ten-year-old doors off. What a spectacular experience! By the end of summer, Star Wars was no longer playing in my small hometown theaters, so on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend when we were visiting my grandparents near Madison, I had to talk fast and begged my parents to head into the city to see it again before we went home. The number one item on my wish list for my birthday the next month was the original double LP soundtrack from John Williams and the LSO - the album I have surely played more than any other since.

    We caught it again at a drive-in theater the next summer. And with home video in its infancy, it was several years before the opportunity to own it to watch at home, hence it played in my imagination while wearing out the grooves on those LPs. Our family’s first VCR was a Betamax, and I still have that CBS/Fox beta tape from 1984 sitting on my shelf (and the VCR too, though I haven’t tried to play it in decades).
    Last edited: May 23, 2023
  14. mr. steak

    mr. steak Forum Resident

    chandler az
    I was 10. It was pretty cool to me at the time. By 12...next.
  15. 7solqs4iago

    7solqs4iago Forum Resident

    was more into arcadevideo games of this calibre off it :(

    apparently it wasn't an official Star Wars game :D

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  16. applebonkerz

    applebonkerz Senior Member

    I was 18, went a couple weeks after it was out in my town -- pretty much just because it was the "thing to do" at that time, not because the film was any particular interest to me. I probably went with a couple friends, though don't remember who for sure. There definitely wasn't any big lines or anything, but the theater was fairly full when it actually started. It was just okay, no big deal. A better marketing/toys/halloween costumes vehicle than a film to me.

    You may enjoy the film 5-25-77 to see the impact Star Wars had on a young filmmaker back in that time.
  17. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Yep, two different styles of sci-fi. One with a cerebral bent, the other, a shoot’em up in space.
  18. ellaguru

    ellaguru Forum Resident

    Dad took me. Wanted to go home soon after it started. Didn't care for it. Still don't. :shrug:
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  19. Laibach

    Laibach Forum Resident

    I was born in 1973 but in the 1980s collecting action figures, stamps, etcetera was a big thing, I do remember taping to VHS some movie previews, news stories or any Star War feature that aired on television. Then it took years for the trilogy to appear on Bluray -I remember a comment on a web forum where a user begged president Obama (or was it Bush Jr?) to release the movies on bluray, claiming that that alone "could pay the national debt".
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  20. googlymoogly

    googlymoogly Forum Resident

    I saw it at age 7, after waiting in the hot and humid parking lot of the local theater. My older cousins took me and a couple of friends. It absolutely knocked our socks off, and I persuaded my dad to take us back twice (a huge feat, because he didn't and still doesn't like to go to movie theaters), and it would have been more if pops hadn't flatly declared he wasn't going to buy any more tickets to a Star Wars movie showing. After that, I used a bit of chore money to buy the novelization, and re-read it endlessly.

    With perspective, I see the cracks in its facade, but I still enjoy the films (even without the intense appreciation of a boy who was delighted with the film). When the film opened, and the text scrolled and the ships came into frame from the top of the screen, my friends and I were already close to losing our minds with excitement. :agree::laugh:
  21. tim185

    tim185 Forum Resident

    Still looks more realistic to me than all the CGI stuff today.
  22. PeanutButterParty

    PeanutButterParty Forum Resident

    New York
    I was 15 when it came out and I saw it in the theater.

    I was pretty sure it was the greatest movie ever made.

    I no longer think it is the greatest movie ever made, but it's still pretty good.
  23. 11 years old in 1977, my jaw dropped & my brain exploded. Saw it twice in one day, then about 30 more times as it played forever in Winnipeg.

  24. Spitfire

    Spitfire Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest
    Don't know how many times I saw it that summer. I was 15 and it remains my favorite movie to this very day.
  25. Had I been older than 2....I would've been in the next theater watching Sorcerer
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